Things We Couldn’t Say

things we couldn't sayLast night I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Diet Eman, a member of the Dutch Resistance during World War 2. She currently lives in Grand Rapids and spoke to a packed room at the Homeschool Building in (the city of) Wyoming.

It was quite something to hear about her experiences and exploits following the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940. She helped hide Dutch Jews, she aided downed Allied pilots, she helped steal ID papers and ration cards for those in hiding, and she basically lived on the run until captured and imprisoned in 1944. Her fiance was killed. Canadian troops finally liberated the area in 1945.

She credits her Christian faith and God’s will for her success and survival. I believe that the things she did and the close calls she managed to escape were not mere coincidence or good fortune.

She refused an honorarium for speaking because of her strong support for homeschooling.

I bought a copy of her book Things We Couldn’t Say and it looks good. It was published by Eerdmans in Grand Rapids. Mrs. Eman was signing books, and I had her make it out to my wife who has read a number of WW2-era stories to our kids, including at least one on the Dutch Resistance. I’ll probably have some excerpts and additional comments once I get a chance to read it.

To hear her stories from her mouth in person was quite an experience. She told us that any of us would do the same thing in the same position, and I would like to believe it. But to hear her speak of what she did, I wonder.


  1. Mrs. Eman sounds like a very inspiring Christian woman. Thank you for recommending her. My wife & I (mostly my wife) have been homeschooling for about 10 years and the kids are doing great! Interesting to hear there is a ‘Homeschool Building’ in Wyoming. What happens there?

  2. Years ago (mid 1978) when I was a very young CO working with a much older partner at the Mich. Reformatory Dormatory (minimum security unit) in Ionia. The gentleman was Dutch, and had emigrated to the US sometime after WWII. I don’t recall him saying he ever worked with the Dutch underground, but he had been impressed into involuntary labor by the Germans, then got into some sort of trouble with them and was interred in a concentration camp somewhere (He probably told me a lot of the details; unfortunately I’ve forgotten them this many years later). Eventually he was involved in an escape with several other prisoners, all of whom were shot dead by the Germans; my coworker being the only one to get away. Needless to say, the whole thing sounded like quite the ordeal (he HATED Germans), and it was very ironic and a little sad that because of his accent (spoke really good English BTW) the cons routinely called him Hitler to his back, which never failed to royally piss him off.